You may or may not think the title of this post has something to do with personal growth, and you’d be right. It’s just a different kind of personal growth than what you may be expecting. I’ve “kind of” taken a month off quilting for others so that I could finish one of my own quilts. Well… that and deal with the holidays, which can easily eat up a month in itself. What you may not know is that quilters who do the quilting for others struggle to find time for working on their own quilts. We are always looking for a way to get our own stuff in, but we also have bills to pay, so we know that working on our own stuff would interfere with paying the bills. So, guess what gets left out?
This latest quilt of mine is hand applique. When we travel, I need something to do and to keep my hands busy so that I don’t go stir crazy. I worked on the applique on this for a couple of years. I mixed a couple of patterns, using Piece ‘o Cake Designs’ “My Whimsical Quilt Garden” (you can find this pattern here) and some patterns from Kay Mackenzie’s book Inspired by Tradition. And, if you want to see more of these patterns, you can find her book here. I like the simplicity of Kay’s patterns – her patterns make it easy to do needle-turn (hand) applique.
Anyhow, here is a sneak peak of the top. I chose bright colors for a cheerful quilt. A lot of the fabric is “In the Beginning” fabric; most of it is Jennifer Heynan’s designs. She has a blog that I follow and is listed in the sidebar on the right. Bright and cheerful… The name of it is “Dawn of a New Day” so named because it has dark borders with bright colors all over the quilt as well as white backgrounds for the blocks. It makes me think of new beginnings (wonder if that’s because a lot of it is “In the Beginning” fabric) and a hopeful future.
I am planning/hoping to put this in some quilt shows, so I quilted it to death (a personal stretch for me). Here is a picture of the back.
This took me FOR. EVER. to finish. Well, I’m not exactly finished yet. I still need to put on the binding. I thought I was never going to get this done! All I can say is that the cost of quilting this for someone else can easily cost over $500. Divide that by a month, and that’s a salary of $125 week of back-wrenching work. And, that’s not including overhead costs, taxes, and other IRS requirements taken from it. Anyhow, I apologize if it seems like I am complaining. I just couldn’t believe how long it was taking me to finish this quilt. I’m glad it’s done. I’m not completely satisfied with the results, but this is the best I can do with where I’m at as far as being a professional quilter. At some point you’ve just gotta stop and say, “This will do.”
Speaking of back-wrenching work, 2014, for me, was a year full of back pain and migraines. For awhile I was getting massages to help with the pain. It did help, but only temporarily. I got to the point where I just couldn’t afford it anymore and stopped.
I asked my doctor about it and she sent me to Physical Therapy. I thought, “Sure! Whatever! It’s not going to do anything.” But, you know what? I was wrong. My doctor and my physical therapist pointed out that I am probably hunched over a machine all day. How did they know? This is not good for your back. My physical therapist explained that our body is made to stand tall, with your head up and your chest expanded/not drawn in. When you are hunched over all day, you stretch out those back muscles, but that leaves the muscles in your chest contracted. Eventually, if you don’t do something to counter-act this posture, as you age, you will “sink in” to this hunched over posture. I can see some of you who sew on your domestic sewing machine thinking about this right now. Yesterday I spent the day sewing on my domestic machine, and my back is madder today than it’s been in a long time. So, yes, all of you who work hunched over, the following stretches will help you.
I graduated from Physical Therapy, but I still need to do my stretches EVERY day. When I don’t do them, I can feel it. Is it going to take away my pain completely? No. But, it makes the pain more manageable, and I feel so much better now. So, here is the top page (of 4) that my physical therapist gave me to do. I am to do these stretches every day and the following 3 pages 2-3 times a week. True confession… I am not good at that 2-3 per week thing. I try to keep up with it, but… However, I do these every day and when something else is hurting, I’ll do an exercise on the last 3 pages. You might try some of these yourself and see if they work for you. If not, you can also “Google” exercises for your neck, upper trunk, shoulders, spine and back.
I do hope that if you are in pain when you work, that you will find a solution. There’s no reason to continue with pain in your life.